Saturday, February 16, 2019

Last Call For Even Less Qualified

Nikki Haley's replacement as UN Ambassador, State Department spokesowman and former FOX News talking head Heather Nauert, was announced back in October, and she has yet to even get an official nomination from the Trump regime because of how staggeringly unqualified she was for the job.  Now the Trump regime has pulled the plug on Nauert's failed attempt at nomination altogether.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Saturday she has withdrawn from consideration as UN ambassador. 
President Donald Trump had previously announced he was picking Nauert, but the formal nomination had not been sent to the Senate. 
"I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations. However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration. Serving in the Administration for the past two years has been one of the highest honors of my life and I will always be grateful to the President, the Secretary, and my colleagues at the State Department for their support," Nauert said in a statement from the State Department.
The State Department said Trump will make an announcement about a new nominee soon. 
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement from the State Department, "Heather Nauert has performed her duties as a senior member of my team with unequalled excellence. Her personal decision today to withdraw her name from consideration to become the nominee for United States Ambassador to the United Nations is a decision for which I have great respect. 
"I wish Heather nothing but the best in all of her future endeavors," Pompeo continued, "and know that she will continue to be a great representative of this nation in whatever role she finds herself." 
CNN reported last month there appeared to be no urgency from the White House or Republicans to confirm Nauert, a former Fox News anchor who started working at the State Department in 2017. Trump made the announcement he was picking Nauert in a tweet in early December, and months later the nomination still had not been made official and there were no dates set for a Senate confirmation hearing. 
Multiple sources told CNN they felt that was a sign of trouble for her. 
There were concerns that Nauert would be face a difficult confirmation process, several sources familiar with the matter had told CNN. 
"There have been predictions of a stormy ride in confirmation, with many on the Hill saying this was a job done‎ by Henry Cabot Lodge, Madeleine Albright, Daniel Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Holbrooke, Bill Richardson ... and now a Fox News presenter?"a senior diplomatic source told CNN.

 Nauert was never going to pass even a cursory background check.

 I'm sure Trump will find somebody even more worthless for the job.  Why not Ivanka?

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Democrats are picking a lot of fights with the Trump regime, but the reality is every one of them will be appealed to the Supreme Court, and there's just no guarantee that the Roberts Court will side with common sense or decency.  Case in point: there's surely five SCOTUS votes to prevent Democrats from getting at Trump's conversations with Putin.

House Democrats are taking their first real steps to force President Donald Trump to divulge information about his private conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, setting up an extraordinary clash with the White House over Congress’ oversight authority. 
Rep. Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, and Rep. Eliot Engel, the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, told POLITICO they are actively consulting with House General Counsel Douglas Letter about the best way to legally compel the Trump administration to turn over documents or other information related to the president’s one-on-one discussions with the Russian leader. 
“I had a meeting with the general counsel to discuss this and determine the best way to find out what took place in those private meetings — whether it’s by seeking the interpreter’s testimony, the interpreter’s notes, or other means,” Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a brief interview. 
It’s a development that indicates Schiff and Engel are close to taking action on the matter; key members of the majority party often consult with the chamber’s general counsel on issues that could end up playing out in court. Democrats want to ensure that they are on the strongest possible legal ground because they anticipate the Trump administration will mount spirited challenges. 
The move also underscores the seriousness with which Democrats view Trump’s conciliatory statements and actions toward Moscow and its place as a top House priority as the party pursues wide-ranging investigations into the president and his administration. 
In particular, Democrats say they want to find out what Trump and Putin discussed during their private meeting in Helsinki last July, where Trump put himself at odds with the U.S. intelligence community and declared — while standing next to the Russian president — that the Kremlin did not interfere in the 2016 elections. 
Trump’s remark prompted Democrats to call for Marina Gross, the State Department translator who was the only other American present for the Trump-Putin meeting, to share her notes with Congress and testify in public. 
Schiff and Engel have left all options on the table, including issuing subpoenas, which the White House would surely fight.

And fight it they will.  Regardless of where the Dems think they stand, the reality is that the ultimate arbiter of many of these fights will be the Supreme Court, and currently with five Republican-appointed justices on board, including two clearly loyal to Trump himself and unbothered by any silliness like stare decicis or, you know, basic humanity, I don't have a good feeling about the outcomes of these fights.

Sadly, even the late Justice Scalia could occasionally be bothered to phone in a "that's too much" opinion and side with Justice Ginsburg.  His replacement, and Justice Kennedy's replacement, have no such compunction.

French Toast For Breakfast

Despite Russia's best efforts to destabilize the French government in the same way it has the US and UK, the Yellow Vest protests in Paris are now running out of steam and popularity as finally people are realizing they're being played by Putin.

France’s “yellow vest” protests are part of a humanist movement aimed at improving the lives of everyone in the country, one demonstrator said on Saturday, defending those who took to the streets for the 14th weekend in a row.

A poll this week showed dwindling support for the demonstrations, named for motorists’ high-visibility jackets, which began in November over fuel taxes and morphed into a more general revolt against politicians and a government they see as out of touch.

More than half of those surveyed said they wanted the occasionally violent protests to end.

“I can understand that some people have had enough, but we’re not doing this just for us,” said Madeleine, a 33-year old unemployed protester. “It’s a very humanist movement and we’re doing this for everyone. So if right now they’re fed up, then too bad for them.”

There has been infighting between leaders of the grassroots movement, although some have outlined plans to extend the weekly protests to Sunday.

The number of protesters have fallen from highs of over 300,000 nationwide in November to around 50,000 last week, according to government estimates.

French interior ministry said around 10,200 protesters took part in demonstrations across the country by 1300 GMT on Saturday, including 3,000 in the capital, compared with 4,000 in Paris last week.

The Macron government will survive, I can't say the same for the May government in the UK or the Trump regime here, but hopefully this is a turning point.  A destabilized Europe with a crumbling European Union is exactly what Putin wants in order to rebuild the old Soviet Bloc states and rise as the next superpower.  After all, he's already got the Crimea in his pocket and the world did nothing.

More efforts will be coming.
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